“The minute I retire, I’ll start traveling.” Is this you? Are you counting the days until your retirement to head to the airport? Can’t you wait any longer? Then don’t! Why should you wait to travel after retirement anyway?
Let me be clear: Don’t wait until you retire. Travel now, have fun now, and live your adventures now. You never know what the future may bring. Who would have told us before the lockdown what was about to happen? And the reason why I’m telling you not to wait to travel isn’t that you should be scared of radical situations like the COVID pandemic. Nope. The reason is that you may not be as fit as you think. Someone you love might get sick. Or you might get sick.
My mom had just retired from her tiring office job when she was diagnosed with the most aggressive brain tumor. She was only 64 years old, but you would think she was younger. Or maybe I’m a little bit biased. Anyway, she spent her life working and taking care of her family. So my mom’s life consisted in waking up early to have a quick breakfast with my dad, then getting my sister and me ready for school. After that, she would go to work, come back just in time to pick us up, make and have lunch with us, take us back to school (we used to have afternoon school back then), prepare lunch for my dad, AND go back to work herself! After work, she would prepare dinner while my dad played with us, and after cleaning up the kitchen, she would sit down to watch a little bit of TV before falling asleep on the couch. She used the weekends to run some errands, do some batch cooking, saw clothes for us girls, and do everything else homemaking. And that was every. single. week.
The first time she took a flight was at the age of 45 to visit me in Germany. She and my dad had so much fun that I started taking them to other places. London, Austria, Italy, South France to see lavender fields, or the Netherlands to see tulip fields (she LOVED tulips). I can still remember how happy both of them looked as we traveled through Bavaria by train.
Now, that I took them to other places only means that I took over the travel organization. They were the ones financing all trips as my student budget was very low. Why am I saying this? Because it wasn’t money that had been stopping them from traveling. It was the feeling of duty. Or that’s my guess.
So why is it that most people don’t grab the chance to live new adventures, move to other countries, or make radical changes to their life when they feel fit and healthy? Why postpone it all to a time when they will most likely feel more unfit – to say the least?
I know not everyone can pack their things, leave everything and everyone behind, and “just” leave to see the world. You may not even want to. But here’s the thing: You don’t need to. You can use every single paid leave day to travel. I love to practice slow travel. I have been doing it since long before I knew this was even a thing! So I love to go to some exotic place for 5-6 weeks, and combine family travel with work. If traveling for so long is out of question for you because of money, but you’d love to try, check out this blog post on travel while freelancing.
And if you’d love to travel for a longer period of time but can’t find anyone to live the adventure with you, coliving could be an option for you! You can get to know what it feels like to live and work in another country with like-minded people. Check out Outsite or Anyplace.
My mom had a happy life. But sometimes, she felt chained to her daily routines. Traveling was something that she loved, but that didn’t fit into her lifestyle. She would have time to visit the Greek Islands and the Norwegian fjords when she and my dad retired. But she couldn’t. Don’t let that happen to you.
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